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Dove apologises for 'racist' whitewashing ad, social media won't accept

NEWSWATCH: Dove comes out unclean after apologising for its latest advertising campaign that depicted a black woman turning white after using its shower cream. A three-second video clip, featuring three women of different ethnicities, each removing a t-shirt to reveal the next woman was posted to Dove's Facebook page on Saturday, 7 October and has since been taken down as a result of the wrath of social media users who find it 'racist'.

The brand admits the ad missed a spot. "An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused," Dove said in its apology statement on Twitter.

“This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs‚ and it should not have happened. We have removed the post and have not published any other content. We do not condone any activity or imagery that insults any audience. Our richness lies in our diversity. Our beauty comes in different shapes‚ sizes‚ hair textures and skin tones. We believe beauty is diverse and diversity is beautiful,” as shared on Dove's Facebook page.

In addition to this, Sibonile Dube, Unilever's corporate affairs director for Southern Africa, explained that they intended to convey that Dove body wash is for every woman, and admits that they got it wrong. "We are truly sorry for the offence that it has caused. We absolutely do not condone any activity or imagery that insults anyone. Dove’s mission is to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. That means showing love and respect for our diversity – our many shapes, sizes, hair textures and skin tones. We believe beauty is diverse and diversity is beautiful. While we hope this helps to explain what happened, we know it does not make up for the offence caused. This should not have happened and we are re-evaluating our internal processes for creating and approving content to prevent us making this type of mistake in future."

South African television host Khanyi Mbau defends the ad, initially applauding their bravery and later stating on Instagram that after watching the full advert, she felt that people needed to “chill” and not take it so personally:

But that’s just one opinion. Screenshots have gone viral, raising past campaigns that show signs of racism, suggesting that this isn’t the first incident, with some calling for a boycott of Dove and Unilever products in South Africa as the only way to get the message across, and others just confused as to what Dove’s marketing team was thinking, and the black model in the ad for that matter…
What do you think? Has your perception changed since watching the full ad?

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About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Marketing & Media Editor at She is also a contributing writer.